NYC95LA016
NYC95LA016

On October 23, 1994, at 1125 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt, Angel, Avid/Heavy Hauler, N740FA, owned and piloted by Ferdinand R. Mastrangelo (a.k.a. Fred Angel), was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Sutton, Massachusetts. The pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight operating under 14 CFR 91.

While at a cruise altitude of 2500 feet mean sea level (MSL), the airplane's engine lost total power. The pilot was unsuccessful in restarting the engine, and elected to make a forced landing in a field. According to the pilot's statement, "Within 20-30 feet of touchdown...I struck the top of some small birch trees causing an instant reversal of direction and subsequent impact with marshy ground.

On October 24, 1994, FAA Inspector, Bertrand Labbe, examined and test ran the engine from N740FA. Mr. Labbe's wrote, the engine test run continued with no discrepancies noted until the engine shutoff valve was moved, "...several degrees toward the "OFF" position." According to Mr. Labbe, "...bubbles began appearing in the [clear plastic] fuel line. After ten minutes the engine stopped." Mr Labbe further wrote:

...the fire wall shutoff valve revealed...[the valve] was purchased from the manufacture of the aircraft kit "AVID"..."ON" position is at 9 o'clock..."OFF" position at 1 o'clock...the valve is completely "OFF" between 1145...and 1 o'clock position...there are no detents to keep the valve in the selected position and the valve itself is not keyed to the panel to prevent rotation. The valve was found secured in the panel, but the "ON" "OFF" lever which consists of a roll pin, came off in my hand while selecting positions. After approx. ten minutes of operation with the valve at the 1030 o'clock position the engine will sputter to a stop. Since the valve is mounted along the lower instrument panel edge, it (lever) could be bumped with the knee....

According to Mr. Labbe, when he arrived at the crash site the day following the accident he found the fuel shutoff valve in the "OFF" position.

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